Masculins / OL - Lorient

A triumphant 60th?

Published on 11 May 2014 at 10:15 AM
After their loss to Marseille, Les Lyonnais have no more room for error when they play host to the Les Merlus… There's a ticket to Europe on the line…

  The loss to Marseille left a bitter taste in the mouth. There were too many mistakes and too much haste, against a side that were hardly on top of their game, but took the chances that came their way. At the Stade Vélodrome, OL almost certainly lost fourth place to Les Verts. It won't be easy to make up a five-point gap and a -6 goal difference in just two games, especially knowing that Les Verts host AC Ajaccio in the final game. Now the key is to keep Les Phocéens at a safe distance to validate an 18th ticket in a row for European competition. That was, after all, the main objective of the season.

OL have their destiny in their own hands with a two-point lead over OM with two matches left to play. So it's all down to Les Lyonnais?  The answer should be yes, especially if the team can recapture its pre-OM form. What are Les Merlus playing for at the Stade de Gerland? It would be surprising, knowing the values of Christian Gourcuff, if they broke from their traditional 4-4-2. Even without the likes of Jouffre, Sunu, Aboubakar and perhaps even Ecuele-Manga… he will stay true to the principles that made his side strong, and can weaken it in certain circumstances. Aliadière, Monnet-Paquet, Traoré… Audard in goal, are all well-known.... and don't forget the former OL youth product Gassama, and the young left-back Guerreiro... 9th with 46 points, Les Merlus can still hope to climb up to 12th place. Lorient will be motivated - they have never won at the Stade de Gerland in the league.

Lyon host FC Lorient before ending the season away to Nice. OL know they have to make it safe before heading to the Côte d’Azur… They also know that Week 37 will be no walk in the park for Les Marseillais who travel to Bordeaux where they haven't won since 1977! One more year wouldn't hurt...

How will Rémi Garde react after the loss to Marseille? Chances are he will change his starting XI. It may depend on the fitness of Clément Grenier who looked good off the bench at the Vélodrome after two months on the sidelines. Clément could return to midfield with his passing game as well as his ability with set pieces. Who will come into central defence with B. Koné out of action? Who will be at right-back? There are still a few question marks…

On Saturday, OL play their 60th official match of the season. A match that could set up all sorts of scenarios, depending on OM's result against Bordeaux. It would be great to confirm the European qualification at home. So let's celebrate success rather than be anxious about any other potential outcome. Let's hope this 60th match is a triumphant reward for such a long and difficult season. It would also be a magnificent parting gift for those players who won't be wearing OL's colours next season...


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